The L.T. Wright Rogue River might be what you’re looking for in an all-around fixed blade knife.
by Leon Pantenburg
I was not paid to do this review and L.T. Wright supplied the knife used for testing. (See editor’s note below.) Knivesshipfree.com is a distributer of L.T. Wright knives, and a SurvivalCommonSense.com sponsor.
New in 2015 was the Rogue River, a model that immediately caught my eye. Oregon’s Rogue River is not that far from where I live, and the whitewater and steelhead fishing of that beautiful area deserve commemoration somehow. And while some of my most-used knives have African names, I like the American connection!
Also, the Rogue River’s design is attractive, and it looked to be a good user.
Here are the specs:
- Total Length: 8 2/3″ (220mm)
- Blade Length: 4″ (104mm)
- Blade Thickness: 1/8″ (3.07mm)
- Blade-Steel: A-2 Steel
- Other Features: Ground Spine, Lanyard Hole, High-Quality Leather Sheath
What I like about the Rogue River:
Blade length: If I had to pick the perfect, all-around useful blade length, I’d go with four inches. I’ve used a four-inch blade on everything from whittling wiener sticks to field dressing big game. I’d prefer a two-to-three-inch blade for small game and wood carving, and a five-to-six-inch blade for bushcrafting and wilderness survival use. But a four-inch blade is the all-around champ.
Handle: At 4-2/3 inches this handle fits my hand really well. A perpetual problem for those of us who wear size large gloves is finding a handle that’s long enough to use for extended wear.
I prefer micarta when ordering a knife for testing. The material is probably bulletproof, and holds up really, really well to hard use and abuse. Also, the material gets tacky when wet, so that nice, smooth handle never gets too slippery when field dressing big game or cleaning fish. Because of my Irish heritage, I generally get green.
But I also have a weakness for curly maple and desert ironwood, and the Rogue River is available with wood handle options.
Blade thickness: This is another topic for debate. Check out daggers, swords and knives in museums. Most of them (with the exception of some broadswords) tend to be thin. I like a thin blade. I think they slice and skin better, and are overall, more useful.
And with today’s super steels, there is little danger of breaking a blade unless it is deliberately abused. The 1/8-inch thickness of the Rogue River is about right. It should be sturdy enough to disjoint big game animals with no danger of blade damage.
A-2 steel: I love A-2, and it is a tossup between it and CPM 3V, as to which I have the most knives in. A-2 holds an edge like crazy. I completely gutted, skinned, dis-jointed and quartered a whitetail buck one November with my Sahara in A-2 and it was still shaving sharp at the end of the job. Without any touch-up, the Sahara did a fine job of carving the Thanksgiving turkey the next day. The desert ironwood handle looked classy, along with the family china and formal dining room.
In my experience, A-2 has tremendous edge-holding ability, and is easy to keep sharp. You can’t go wrong with A-2.
Saber grind: Knife grind is another personal preference, and I have examples of virtually everything. My favorite is convex. Scandi is excellent for bushcraft, and is a good grind for teaching people how to sharpen.
I like the flat, saber grind, because it makes a really good slicer and whittler. The Rogue River’s blade grind ends with a micro bevel, which comes razor sharp. With use and stropping, the saber will eventually evolve into a convex grind.
Sheath: The Rogue River comes with a sturdy leather sheath, equipped with a belt loop that makes it a dangler. This is my favorite design of sheath. A dangler sheath allows the knife to freely move on your belt, while still safely securing the blade.
Drop point: While my favorite point is still a clip, the drop point is a really good choice for a do-it-all knife. The point works well for hunting and field dressing big game. It also works well for drilling holes in wood.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re looking for a durable, well-designed user, that can handle most camping, hiking and outdoor tasks, take a hard look at the Rogue River. You can’t go wrong with this knife.
Editor’s note: All I ever promise on any knife review is a fair shake. If a knife is a piece of junk, I’ll report that.
I contacted L.T. Wright last November, asking what they would charge to re-grind my GNS from a scandi to flat grind. I have beaten the crap out of the GNS, testing and using it, and didn’t ask for or expect any warranty work. And I am very, very satisfied with the knife.
Re-grinding would be difficult, L.T. explained. Apparently, since I wasn’t absolutely, positively, completely satisfied with the GNS, L.T. asked if I would accept a Rogue River (with a flat grind) instead. That’s the kind of customer service you can expect from L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives. Buy American.